JERUSALEM — It might be one of the more tense corners of the globe, but residents of the Holy Land can never resist the opportunity for a good laugh. That might be the reason people are going nuts over celebrity funnyman Conan O’Brien, who arrived in Israel on Friday.
So far, he seems to love Israel, and the feeling is mutual.
Throughout the weekend, Israelis filled social media with messages to the comedian and photos of chance encounters with him.
In one Facebook post, Tel Avivian Miki Fromchenko wrote, “I went out to have a cup of coffee on the boulevard, and I wondered if it was legitimate to wear the shirt my friends and I had made at the age of twenty and had holes the size of Ramon Crater in the armpit area. In my naivety I thought I would go out, get coffee and go home, no one would see me, but Conan liked the shirt.”
It appears that the star swapped shirts with Fromchenko.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet O'Brien in Jerusalem on Monday, chimed in, posting a greeting on his Twitter account:
On Saturday, Conan posted a video on Facebook summing up his impressions. Standing at an overlook in Jaffa with Tel Aviv in the background, he describes tasting “shakshuka,” the popular egg-and-tomato breakfast dish, and drinking a Goldstar beer.
“I am looking forward to seeing all the old sites, but the best part is the people, having these funny exchanges with other human beings all around the world; that I like the most,” he said.
Then he quipped: “We’re gonna go to Jerusalem, and we’re also gonna go to Bethlehem … I hope I can get a room because Jesus had some trouble.”
O'Brien got people here laughing before he had even landed, posting a video from inside the bathroom on an El Al flight, saying he was brushing up on his Hebrew.
“You can see it says 'towel disposal,' " he said, pointing to Hebrew wording under the English equivalent.
“I recognize the words from the Old Testament when Moses tells his people to listen to the commandments and, also, to dispose of their towels … he almost made it into a commandment,” O'Brien quipped.
O’Brien announced his trip two weeks ago, joking that he planned to help Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and official U.S. envoy for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Kushner met with officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah, in the West Bank, last week.